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PARAGUAYAN AGRICULTURE

Paraguay’s organic potential

Article - January 26, 2016

Leading company BioExport is looking for partners to help it meet growing global demand for organic food products

SINCE 2013, FIELDS FOR ORGANIC CROPS, SUCH AS SESAME PICTURED ABOVE, HAVE INCREASED BY 15% AROUND THE WORLD, WHICH MEANS THERE ARE NOW 43 MILLION HECTARES UNDER ORGANIC CULTIVATION

Last year was another stellar one for the world’s organic foods industry, which has registered explosive growth over the past five years with no end in sight for ravenous consumer demand. Since 2013, fields for organic crops have increased by 15%, which means there are now 43 million hectares under organic cultivation. The global market topped $72 billion in 2014 and today there are more than 2 million organic farmers around the world.

As far back as 2009, USAID identified Paraguay’s potential for exploiting this new market, and the country is fast making inroads into this lucrative industry. Already the world’s foremost organic sugarcane producer, Paraguay has now diversified its organic product range to include sesame, stevia, chia, and rice, among others.

Leading the organic farming revolution is BioExport, a young and fast growing company that exports more than 1 million tons of CERES-certified grains, including black and white sesame, mung beans, chia and rice, to markets around the world each year. It also produces a range of sesame and chia bars, cookies, and oils. Since its founding in 2009, the company has grown to employ a staff of 120 people.

CEO Arturo Fernández says BioExport is finding it hard to keep up with global demand, expected to grow on average by 16% annually over the next five years. Between 2013 and 2014, BioExport’s revenues jumped by 100%, but the company’s annual production growth of 10% is still below that of global demand. Consequently, the company is looking for new partners to come on board.

“We are now in a second, much bigger phase, and are looking for investment partners who can help us grow significantly. For example, BioExport has a capacity for 15,000 tons of rice. We want partners with the vision of increasing this to 50,000 tons per year,” says Mr Fernández.

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